Amnesty International has issued a call for global pressure on the Iranian authorities, including the head of the judiciary, to release Iranian brothers Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari.
The human rights organization declared on Monday, June 7, that Habib and Vahid Afkari must be held in conditions meeting international standards for the treatment of prisoners, including access to adequate health care and their families.
Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari were convicted of “enmity against God” and participation in anti-state street protests that took place in Shiraz, Fars province, between late December 2017 and early January 2018, and also between late July and early August 2018.
Habib has been sentenced to 27 years and three months in prison and Vahid to 25 years in prison. Both have also been sentenced to 74 lashes.
Before being hanged, he had filed a complaint stating that he had been tortured to provide the false confession that was used to convict him.
His death shocked and broke the hearts of Iranians and many politicians, famous athletes, and organizations across the globe.
Amnesty International stated that “Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari are being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in Adelabad prison in Shiraz. Since September 2020, they have been held in windowless solitary confinement cells and denied access to adequate healthcare, fresh air, telephone calls and face to face family visits.”
“Authorities arbitrarily arrested them in 2018 after their participation in protests, forcibly disappeared them and repeatedly tortured them for months. They were sentenced to lengthy imprisonment after grossly unfair trials.”
Amnesty International called on the public to write a letter to officials, including the head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, asking them to release the Afkari brothers, noting that Iranian authorities had arbitrarily arrested, tortured and imprisoned them after participating in the 2018 protest.
The organization called the detention of prisoners of conscience an example of “unruly detention” under international law and called on the public in their letters to the authorities to release Vahid and Habib Afkari while “violating unjust sentences.”
Amnesty International also said that a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into their allegations of torture and other illtreatment must be conducted and all those suspected of criminal responsibility must be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to death penalty.
Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari exposed to torture
Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari, brothers of executed wrestling champion and protester Navid Afkari have been imprisoned in Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison in southwestern Iran for seven months.
According to a report by the Human Rights News Agency, the brothers have been kept in the “Ebrat” or “Cautionary” section, since September 2020, when Navid was executed. The Ebrat Section is also known as the “closed off” section where inmates are not allowed to communicate with the outside world.
Despite their family’s pleas to be transferred to the political prisoners’ section, they are still kept in Ebrat, banned from communication and medical treatment. Death row prisoners are sometimes taken to Ebrat before their sentence is implemented.
On March 30, Saeed Afkari, another one of the brothers, wrote on Twitter that he had visited Habib and Vahid for the first time for Nowruz.
“I visited Habib and Vahid for the first time for Nowruz. They are still kept in solitary, banned from phone calls and medical treatment”.
Vahid Afkari’s message from prison
Officials have threatened political prisoner Vahid Afkari, brother to executed wrestling champion Navid Afkari, that if he doesn’t “confess” he will be killed.
The audio recording by Vahid Afkari was distributed online on August 31, reviewing the manner of his being arrested, his time in solitary confinement, his tortures and trial.
In a letter from prison, Vahid Afkari had declared his innocence. Nonetheless, he said, his torturers and the presiding judge did not heed his statements and convicted him.
Vahid Afkari said, “No one listened to me over the past two years.”
Listen to his plea.